When you’re a 20 year old college student you’re often asked the same questions over and over again. Depending on the situation these questions range from friendly indifference to snide interrogation. “How old are you?” Not quite old enough to drink. “What’s your major?” No I don’t want to be a teacher. “Are you in a sorority?” Well I’m at this party. “What are you doing when you graduate?” Go to Hell.
If the “what’s your major/how much money do you plan on making/ are you as smart as your mom thinks you are/ are you lazy/ are you full of shit” question gets anywhere it usually gets to the topic of writing. People can’t fathom kids sitting around in a classroom discussing great literature and then doing something with this knowledge; they like to have a concrete thing they can hold on to. So I give them my writing. Not really, of course. But the idea of it. Yes I do things! I actively think then process then type then edit and then there it is–the words in black and the aura, the essence, the ah-hah in white.
“About what?” usually follows my assertion that I do, indeed, write. This is when I know that the conversation will go nowhere, that the only good answer is a self-deprecating one: “oh, about my life and, like, typical college issues and how I deal with them.” I think: but don’t you mean to ask a different question? If only you could muster “for whom?” “but why?” “during what hours of the day?” “does it scare you?” Then we could talk.
For myself. So that I can understand the things I do and say and see. Usually at night or after one and a half cups of coffee. More than anything else.
Wondering about the ornament (yes it’s an all season Brian Andreas quote–get yours today)? My mother got it for me (and for my sister, naturally) for Christmas. I think it’s a wonderful New Years sentiment. There’s not much I like about New Years because I am a surface misanthrope and I like to keep up appearances. Deep down I’m ever so slightly excited by the prospect of figuring things out. I am afraid that I do not write enough. I do not write every day (fodder for a New Years resolution–that is, if I did those. [I do those, of course, I’m a sucker for anything shiny and new and at the same time reeking of nostalgia]), and I’m afraid that I’m simply hiding from some devastating knowledge stored in my brain parts. If I start writing about my day what if I look down and see that I’ve typed “I am sad.”
What if I find myself recounting a sunny, pleasant day as one lacking in more important things, like conversation and good sandwiches? What if I realize that I am more content than I knew. What if I’ve stopped “seeking” and started living. What if woe-is-me-Connelly has been replaced by a self I have yet to name?
So the ornament says that things are falling into place. That’s not a bad place to start. There’s no time limit. There’s no capped amount on the number of things that are allowed to fall. I could, if I were maybe just a bit brave, write things into place. If I say it on the internet, it’s around forever, right? Then here’s the commitment:
This year, I am going to write more. Please don’t ask “about what.”